Boris Johnson pulls out of Conservative leadership race
The former PM could only get 59 MPs to publicly support him
Boris Johnson has pulled out of the Tory leadership race.
It is believed the former prime minister couldn’t attract the required number of MPs to progress (100).
He is saying that despite having the support of the MPs required to run, he had come to the conclusion "this would simply not be the right thing to do" as "you can't govern effectively unless you have a united party in Parliament".
He issued a statement saying: "In the last few days I have been overwhelmed by the number of people who suggested that I should once again contest the Conservative Party leadership, both among the public and among friends and colleagues in Parliament.
"I have been attracted because I led our party into a massive election victory less than three years ago - and I believe I am therefore uniquely placed to avert a general election now.
"A general election would be a further disastrous distraction just when the government must focus on the economic pressures faced by families across the country.
"I believe I am well placed to deliver a Conservative victory in 2024 - and tonight I can confirm that I have cleared the very high hurdle of 102 nominations, including a proposer and a seconder, and I could put my nomination in tomorrow.
"There is a very good chance that I would be successful in the election with Conservative Party members - and that I could indeed be back in Downing Street on Friday."
"But in the course of the last days," the Boris Johnson statement continues, "I have sadly come to the conclusion that this would simply not be the right thing to do. You can’t govern effectively unless you have a united party in parliament.
"And though I have reached out to both Rishi and Penny - because I hoped that we could come together in the national interest - we have sadly not been able to work out a way of doing this.
"Therefore I am afraid the best thing is that I do not allow my nomination to go forward and commit my support to whoever succeeds.
"I believe I have much to offer but I am afraid that this is simply not the right time."
This leaves the race open for former chancellor Rishi Sunak who leads nominations among Tory MPs, with 144 supporters.
Boris Johnson pulls out of the Tory leadership contest
He says he hoped he, Sunak and Mordaunt could come together and unite but they have been unable to do so
— Steven Swinford (@Steven_Swinford) October 23, 2022